BMW E64 Tie Rod Replacement – 2004-2010 6 Series – Steering Boot

0
299
BMW E64 Tie Rod Replacement – 4 Hours
Repair cost level 1
The BMW Repair Guide used this 2005 645ci for the following article.
Repair Summary
This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the tie rods and steering boots in a BMW E63/E64 vehicle. Even though we used a 2005 645ci to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any 2004-2010 6 series vehicle with minor modifications to the repair steps.

This BMW E64 tie rod replacement article can also be used as a reference for repairing the torn or damaged steering boots on your 6 series car.

The BMW E63/E64 6 series was produced from 2004-2010 and still remains one of our favorite vehicles here at the BMW Repair Guide. Its iconic design and superb driving characteristics make it (in our humble opinion) one of the greatest models every produced by BMW.

One issue that has always plagued our “slant nose” sixers is their low stance and lack of ground clearance under the front end of the vehicle. This lack of ground clearance can often make even the smallest road debris a destructive projectile, leaving battle scars to the bottom of our E63 hardtops and E64 convertibles.

One of the main casualties of road debris (and pot holes) are often the 6 series’ tie rods and steering boots. Augmented by age the steering boots become brittle, causing them to disintegrate under even the smallest impact. The BMW 6 series tie rods are also susceptible to wear an tear.  Age and years of aggressive driving can cause the ball joints to deteriorate, creating “sloppy” steering, front end alignment issues and creaking sounds from the front end. Impact from debris and potholes can also destroy tie rod components – a potentially dangerous condition that can cause a loss of control of the vehicle if not fixed.

A BMW E64 tie rod replacement is a relatively easy repair for the intermediate mechanic. BMW made it easy to remove the tie rods on its 6 series vehicles with very few tools required. Please note that if you are just planning on replacing your damaged steering boots, you must still remove the tie rods. You cannot install new steering boots without disassembling the tie rods first. Please also note that you may need a front end alignment at the conclusion of this repair.

If you are replacing the tie rods on a E63/E64 6 series with Active Steering, you will have to complete an active steering adjustment with a BMW diagnostic scanner at the conclusion of this repair. For more information, please see our article on active steering adjustment. If you need to purchase a BMW diagnostic scanner to adjust your active steering, please click here.

Affiliate link disclosure – The BMW Repair Guide uses affiliate links in their site. For more information on affiliate links, please click here.

1. Tie rods (required) – When replacing your tie rods, it is good practice to replace both the inner and the outer tie rod together. Many mechanics will try and save money (and time) by just replacing the outer ball joint portion of the tie rod when changing out a damaged boot, forgetting that the inner ball joint is just as important.

Tie rod – Karlyn 32106777479

Fits all BMW E63/E64 6 series vehicles

Tie rod – Meyle 32106777479

Fits all BMW E63/E64 6 series vehicles

2. Steering boot (required) – The steering boots fit over the inner tie rod and protect the ball joint connection to the steering rack.

Steering rack boot – Lemforder 32106765782

Fits all BMW E63/E64 6 series vehicles

Floor jack – low profile

Jack stands

17mm socket wrench

21mm socket wrench

24mm open end wrench

T40 torx bit

Inner tie rod tool

Hose clamp pliers

Torque wrench – medium range

Blaster PB Lubricant

Grease – waterproof marine

 

Section 1 – Removing the BMW E64 tie rods>

Removing the two tie rods from the BMW 6 series is actually a simple procedure. The tie rods are easily accessible with a minimal amount of parts that need to be cleared out of the way

  1. Jack and support the front end of your vehicle using jack stands. For more information on jacking and supporting your BMW for repairs, please see our article BMW Jacking and Supporting for Repairs and Maintenance.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Jack up the front end of the vehicle and support on jack stands
  2. Remove the two front wheels.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Remove the two front wheels
  3. Remove the front belly pan. It is simply held in place with phillips head screws.
  4. Identify the two tie rods that connect the front wheels to the steering rack. bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Identify the tie rods and the steering rack boots
  5. Turn the steering wheel so the wheel you are working on is pointing out. This will give you enough room to separate the tie rod from the steering knuckle. Turn the wheel you are working on all the way out
  6. The outer ball joint lock nuts are usually very heavily corroded. Spray them liberally with Blaster PB and let them soak for about 5 minutes before removing them.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Liberally soak the outer tie rod ball joints with PB Blaster or similar penetrating lubricant
  7. Using a 21mm socket and a long socket wrench (or breaker bar), loosen the tie rod ball joint nut (or use an impact wrench and completely remove the nut).bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Loosen the ball joint lock nut with a 21mm socket and breaker bar
  8. If you did not use an impact wrench in step 7 above, finish removing the lock nut with a T40 torx bit and a 21mm open end wrench.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Finish removing the lock nut with a T40 socket and 21mm open end wrench
  9. The tie rod ball joint should easily pull free from the steering knuckle. If it doesn’t, give it a couple of strikes with a ball peen hammer until it pops out.Remove the ball joint from the steering knucklebmw e63 tie rod replacement - Strike the ball joint with a ball peen hammer if it is stuck
  10. If the steering boot is still intact on the tie rod, use a utility knife to cut it off. You can now access the inner tie rod ball joint.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Cut the old steering boot off of the tie rodThe inner tie rod ball joint
  11. Use a large adjustable wrench (or inner tie rod tool) to loosen the inner tie rod ball joint. Unscrew the ball joint from the steering rack and remove the tie rod from the vehicle.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Use an adjustable wrench to loosen the inner ball jointbmw e63 tie rod replacement - Remove the tie rod from steering rack
  12. Repeat on the other side of the vehicle.

 

Section 2 – Preparing the new BMW E64 tie rods for installation

The reason why many mechanics need to get the front end aligned on their 6 series vehicles after installing new tie rods is because they do not take the time to properly measure and set up the replacements. The closer you can match the length of the new tie rods to the old ones, the less chance you will need a front end alignment when completing this repair. 

  1. If they are not already, separate the new inner and outer tie rod by loosening their hex adjustment nut and unscrewing them apart. Remove the clamp ring and the hex nut from the inner tie rod and set aside.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Disassemble the new tie rods
  2. Screw the inner and the outer tie rod back together without the clamp ring and hex nut. The reason why we are doing this is so we can adjust the new tie rod to match the length of the old tie rod – the closer you can match the length of the new tie rod to the old one, the less chance you will need to realign the front end.Reassemble the new tie rod without the hex nut and clamp ring
  3.  Lay the old and new tie rods side by side on a bench. Adjust the new tie rod until it is as close as possible to the length of the old one. Pay careful attention to lining up the edges of the inner ball joint and the center lines of the outer ball joints (see images below). Take your time…a few minutes of careful adjustment can get you very close.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Place the old and new tie rods side by side on a bench bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Line up the edges of the inner ball joint bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Line up the center line of the outer ball joints
  4.  Once you are satisfied they are the same length, use a Sharpie permanent marker to label the exact line where the inner and outer tie rods meet. Make your line thick and heavy so it doesn’t rub off during installation.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Mark the edge where the inner and outer tie rods meet Make a thick mark so it doesn't rub off
  5. Repeat the above steps on the second tie rod.

 

Section 3 – Installing the new BMW E63 tie rods

Installation is basically the reverse of disassembly accept for one deviation; the inner and outer tie rod must be installed separately so the new steering boot can be properly fitted. Installing the tie rod in one piece will not allow the steering boot to be slid into position on the steering rack.

  1. Separate the inner and outer tie rod again.
  2. Add a small amount of waterproof grease to the threads of the inner tie rod ball joint and screw it into the steering rack until it is hand tight.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Use a high quality waterproof grease bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Apply waterproof grease to the threads of the inner tie rodbmw e63 tie rod replacement - Install the inner tie rod into the steering rack and hand tighten
  3. Using an inner tie rod tool (please see our parts list if you need to purchase one), torque the inner tie rod ball joint to 100 Nm (81 ft-lb).bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Use an inner tie rod tool to tighten the inner ball joint to the steering rack bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Torque the inner ball joint to 100 Nm (81 ft-lb).
  4.  Slide on the new steering boot and the inner hose clamp. If you are using the stock “single ear” hose clamp supplied with the boot, use a pair of hose clamp pliers to pinch it tight.Slide the new boot onto the inner tie rod Slide a new hose clamp into position on the steering rack bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Use a pair of hose clamp pliers to tighten the inner hose clamp to the steering rack
  5. Install the outer hose clamp.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Install the outer hose clamp
  6.  Install the hex nut and the clamp ring onto the inner tie rod.
  7. Screw the outer tie rod onto the inner tie rod until it lines up with the mark you made in Section 2 above.bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Install the outer tie rod to the mark made in section 2 of this repair
  8. Install the outer tie rod ball joint into the steering knuckle and torque to 80 Nm (59 ft-lb).bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Install the outer ball joint into the steering knuckle bmw e63 tie rod replacement - Torque the outer ball joint to 80 Nm (59 ft-lb).
  9. Hand tighten the hex nut and the clamp ring then torque to 51 Nm (38 ft-lb).Install the hex nut and clamp ring. Torque to 51 Nm (38 ft-lb)
  10. Repeat the above steps on the other wheel.
  11. Reassemble the car. Torque the wheel lug nuts to 122 Nm (90 ft-lb).

 

BMW E64 Tie Rod Replacement Finished
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact us. And congratulations for Doing It Yourself!